Monday, 29 April 2013

Anatomy of an Illustration

Recently Sandra created life-size illustrations for an exhibition at Borders Textile Towerhouse about the local high street. The exhibition, Vision 2014, was focused on Hawick's delicatessen Turbull's, and its rich history, dating back to 1855. A group of school pupils were given the task of brainstorming and setting up the exhibition, and we helped them during an afternoon of workshops.You can read more about the background of the exhibition and how it came about in our previous post here:
This is the final artwork, and this blog examines how Sandra created it.
Sandra's final artwork
First, very rough sketches were made during a brainstorming session with the pupils. Back in Glasgow Sandra then started by drawing blue pencils in Manga Studio.
Blue pencils
The pencils were then inked, again in Manga Studio. The artwork having to be life-size, it seemed the best way to pencil and ink was directly on screen at high resolution, rather than making the drawings on paper and then scanning them. As the artworks were to be enlarged Sandra worked at 1200 dpi.
Inked drawing
The inked drawing was then exported to Photoshop where the black ink was changed to a burgundy colour and a light pink. For the colouring, Sandra worked in layers using various artistic brushes to emulate paint and watercolour. She also used a number of textures for different parts of the drawing, which she manipulated in a collage-like way, changing the positioning, brightness, hue and saturation for example, until she achieved the desired effect.
Here are some more detailed views. The speech bubble in Detail 1 is made of old paper texture, and the garments are made up of manipulated fabric textures.
Detail 1
In Detail 2, a genuine whisky label from Turnbull's (below) was incorporated: scanned in at high resolution and wrapped around the bottle. The barrel is made of a collage of wood textures and the Turnbull's label was taken from the menu below.

Detail 2

Turnbull's Whisky label
Turnbull's menu

In Detail 3, the pot and tea cup were made up of a number of images (Pupils' drawings 1, 2 and 3) superimposed in layers and manipulated (hue, saturation, brightness). The elaborate teapot of the Turnbull's menu (above) was also used as a very faint back layer for added depth.
Detail 3

These three drawings were also made by the pupils during the workshop session with us. The drawings were scanned at high resolution, and Sandra then cleaned them up in photoshop, boosting contrast and changing hues. She then took parts of each drawing and layered them to create a new composite teacup and teapot.
Pupils' drawing 1

Pupils' drawing 2

Pupils' drawing 3

The text parts of the images (on the barrel, board, and speech bubble), were created in Photoshop and manipulated with the Warp Text tool. The figures seen here in situ were printed on thick white board.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Exhibition at Borders Textile Towerhouse

In February, we delivered a day workshop at Borders Textile Towerhouse. Pupils were there to come up with ideas and put an exhibition together, Vision 2014, about their local High Street. They concentrated on their local delicatessen, Turnbull's, a fabulous little vintage café/shop.

Here we are with some of the pupils, helping them to brainstorm ideas.

Photo from the blog about our visit on

To inspire them, we started by delivering a brief presentation introducing them to design, typography and illustration from the Victorian era until now. Turnbull's has a long history dating back to 1855. So we had the opportunity to show them some of our favourite artwork. One of the images we showed was this William Morris pattern.

By an extraordinary coincidence this is the wallpaper currently adorning the walls of Turnbull's. We'd never set foot there before, and only found this out when we went there for lunch on the day.
The wallpaper looks green here but it was the exact same colour!

1940's poster

Alphonse Mucha, 1899

George Barbier, illustrator
Antonio Lopez, illustrator

After lunch the girls announced that they wanted Sandra to create final artwork for two life-size figures based on their own drawings and ideas. We all did some more brainstorming together, and quick sketches were drawn for the final artwork Sandra would create back in Glasgow. Here is the result, and also the life-size cut out figures in situ at the exhibition opening on March 26th 2013 at Textile Borders Towerhouse.
Sandra's drawings, life-size figures

Looking at the details, you can see that Sandra has incorporated some of the great drawings, pictured below, that the pupils did on the day.

Exhibition opening

The pupils setting up the displays
Ross Turnbull, the real proprietor of Turnbull's,
with his grandmother.

The pupils creating the displays

Brainstorming results!
It was a real pleasure to be part of this fantastic project. The pupils really did a wonderful job, and we're glad to say they were really happy with Sandra's finished artwork. Many thanks to Kelsey Jubin for inviting us to take part. And what a great way to connect pupils to their local high street and history through art, design and creativity!

Do check out Turnbull's website and pop in if you are in the area. It's a lovely place for a cup of tea and a snack!